I'm using (K)ubuntu 12.04 LTS with a Synaptics touchpad. The palm sensitivity it terrible, whenever I'm typing the mouse suddenly jerks off to a different place. Is there a way to enable/increase palm sensitivity?

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    @mikewhatever I do not want to disable touchpad tapping. I just want to increase palm sensitivity so that a palm touch is not sensed as a finger touch. Of what I know, it is possible to change the maximum "area of contact" in order to function, but I'm not sure. But I definitely don't want to disable tapping. – notablytipsy Oct 24 '12 at 1:53
  • Alright, let's keep it as a fallback option then. – mikewhatever Oct 24 '12 at 2:31
  • If this is an "exact duplicate", can someone link me to the question? As I said in my comment, I do NOT want to disable tapping – notablytipsy Oct 24 '12 at 15:14
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    @everyone: I have to disagree that this is a duplicate question. This is a very valid question and becomes more valid with the new supersmooth touchpads which Ubuntu constantly fail to handle properly out of the box. – Ubuntuser Aug 14 '14 at 17:16

AFAIK, palm sensing is not exposed through the graphical touchpad configuration tool. That said, you could try playing with it by using synclient.

To see what options are available, run synclient -l | grep -i palm

PalmDetect              = 0
PalmMinWidth            = 10
PalmMinZ                = 200

Those are the options I see, so, to activate the palm sensing, run synclient PalmDetect=1, and then experiment with the values of the other two.

   "PalmMinWidth" "integer"
          Minimum finger width at which touch is considered a palm.  Prop‐
          erty: "Synaptics Palm Dimensions"

   "PalmMinZ" "integer"
          Minimum  finger  pressure  at  which touch is considered a palm.
          Property: "Synaptics Palm Dimensions"

When you find the right values, create a startup entry in Startup Applications with a command of the following form:

synclient PalmDetect=1 PalmMinWidth=xx PalmMinZ=yy

...where xx and yy are the desired values.

  • Seems to work when I test it, but periodically I still get accidental palm touchpad click events that move the cursor. GUess I need to play with the values again since the defaults weren't good at detecting my palm. Crazy these options are not available through settings, somehow. – noisygecko May 31 '13 at 15:05
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    For my ASUS S-200, which has an ETPS/2 Elantech Touchpad, I found good settings were PalmMinWidth=5 and PalmMinZ=20. YPMV. (Your palms may vary) – ngm Jul 21 '13 at 9:52
  • the values @ngm used also work fine on a ThinkPad T410 – springloaded Dec 2 '15 at 21:52

Besides the settings posted by mikewhatever, these settings seems to work very good for me:

synclient AreaLeftEdge=2000 
synclient AreaRightEdge=5000

Note: those are the settings for my device... you need to find out your device values.

Try incrementing AreaRightEdge starting from zero until you can move the cursor as "normal". AreaLeftEdge works the opposite, so from zero, increment it until it doesn't move... then go back little by little until the cursor moves as "normal" again. (at the end, AreaRightEdge can not be lower than AreaLeftEdge).

Perhaps Top and Bottom should be set as well... I will test that later, but at least Left/Right seems to do the job.

Also, in terms of "sensitivity", you can adjust these:

FingerLow               = 25
FingerHigh              = 50

As the above values, try to find those that are optimal for you.

(Quoted from my answer to my own question:) Synaptics Touchpad : solving 2 finger problem triggered by resting palm


Adding to lepe's excellent answer: I was able to discover the AreaLeftEdge and AreaRightEdge numbers by using

user@t560:~$ xinput list

and in there is a line like

↳ SynPS/2 Synaptics TouchPad id=11 [slave pointer (2)]

and then taking the device number and feeding it to

xinput --test 11

and then dragging my finger across the pad, noting the numbers that corresponded to where I wanted the borders to be.

In my case (Thinkpad T560), the extremes of the pad are about 2200 and 4400, so I ended up setting 2700 and 3700 as my left and right edges.

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